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March 2019

View all on this date written articles further down below.

What good content does for your eCommerce Business

Online shopping is comfortable and incredibly convenient, so you think it’d be an easy sell. But there’s lots that retailers can do to sour the experience and turn potential customers off buying online. One of the most basic issues, is that it’s often harder to sell something when customers can’t access the physical object.

Sure, the convenience of online shipping and ability to compare prices is great, but this simple fact can be a sticking point. Think of it this way – have you ever held off on buying that suit online because you’re not 100% of the fit? Or maybe gone in-store to buy your laptop so you know just how heavy it is?  

Because of this simple point, you need to make your customer’s eCommerce experience more than just one of convenience (although that’s a necessity too).

Recreating the in-store experience

What your customers basically want is all the benefits of going to the shops themselves without actually having to do it. That means baking as much information and guidance into the item description as you possibly can – your customers want to know exactly what it would be like to hold your product in their hands. This means including key info like:

  • Multiple images with ability to zoom
  • 360 animation
  • Video of the product in use
  • Care instructions
  • Non-technical description of product
  • Specifications including weight, material, size, etc.
  • How-to guides and manuals
  • You get the idea…

It might seem like a lot of information to gather, but I promise you that it will make all the difference. What’s more, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel for this – just communicate with your supplier to get accurate specifications and descriptions.

What type of information you provide will depend on the product category. For example, always make sure that you include a list of ingredients if you’re an online food retailer – after all, in-store, your customers can simply flip the packaging and read them there. If you don’t list the ingredients, people with food allergies or special diets will simply not buy because they don’t want to risk it.

Don’t scare your customers away with poor writing

It’s amazing how much a well-written product description can do for you. For a start, spelling and grammar mistakes make you seem dodgy and untrustworthy. But it’s so much more than that: customers actually rate poorly written and wordy content as the most annoying part of online shopping and the biggest reason for abandoning the products in their shopping cart.

Poor wording can also be a major source of ambiguity, which you want to avoid at all costs. If a customer is unsure about an important detail of your product, they’re either going to abandon the whole purchase, or they will try to contact your customer service, meaning that you will have to put resources into explaining to customers what should have already been clear from the beginning. For example:

  • Make sure that your online shop is easily navigable and separated into logical categories and give your customers the opportunity to customize their searches by including filters. Think of it as giving your customers the best of both worlds: you’re making sure to recreate the in-store experience of physically interacting with a product while at the same time offering all the convenience of being able to quickly search through hundreds of products to arrive at exactly what they want.
  • Provide both imperial and metric measurements: No matter where in the world you are selling, you might have customers who are used to a specific measurement system. This means you need to make sure to include both pounds (lbs) and kilos (kgs), as well as centimetres (cm) and inches (“).

  • Include sizing charts for clothing and accessories: Make sure to include size equivalents from all countries so that your customers have an easy way to assess the size they need to order without too much hassle.

  • I’ve often found that a medium in Store A can be a large in Store B or a small in Store C. If you want to really stand out from the crowd, include the measurements of each size (for example, a Small fits a woman 27” waist). Bonus points if you also have instructions on how customers can correctly measure themselves.

Trust and security

Online purchases can still come with a nagging feeling of distrust on the customer side, so it’s super important to convey a sense of security by incorporating content that makes your customer feel like they can trust you. This includes things like:

  • Clear refund and exchange policies. Let your customers know that if something DOES go wrong – they have options. This also protects your business by ensuring there are strict guidelines for what can be refunded or exchanged, and under what circumstances.
  • Trust badges are also an excellent way to convey trust.  A trust badge or trust seal is a symbol placed on your website that ensures your visitors know that you are legitimate and that all their data is collected securely. A trust badge can significantly increase conversions.
  • Reviews are another way to convey trust, as it provides the social proof that others were willing to trust your business and had a great experience or you can resolve issues quickly.

Create your standards playbook

Thinking through your content will also help inform your website design to ensure you have the best website possible for your products or services.

But once you have that design, it’s tempting sometimes to do things quickly rather than properly.

You may have an extensive set of products and categories, for example, so pimping out your product data may seem an overwhelming task. So break it down.

Some products and categories have higher margin than others. So, build a category matrix for each category and its rank from a sales and margin perspective. Then look at the minimum amount of product information each category needs from a product data perspective.

e.g. In order for a TV to be put live and saleable then it must have…

  • Front photo
  • Back photo
  • Lifestyle photo
  • Marketing spiel
  • Technical Specifications

Set standards for yourself and don’t budge.

Need a hand? At The Playhouse Group, we do this regularly, so don’t be shy and get in touch today!

HOW MOBILES ARE REVOLUTIONISING THE BRICKS AND MORTAR EXPERIENCE

We’ve all heard it and we’ve all done it.  Uttered those words “I just don’t have TIME”.  

“What are we going to buy Jeff for his birthday, I don’t have TIME to go to the shops.”  “Let’s do an online grocery shop darling, I just don’t have TIME to get to the supermarket”.

With the advances in eCommerce, our portable buying machines (your mobile phone), and with time becoming even more of a precious commodity, a dark cloud has loomed over bricks-and-mortar retail stores for a while that has meant those still standing have needed to reinvent themselves and do things smarter.

With the advent of marketplaces like Amazon, fitting in ‘shopping’ with our modern overrun lives just makes the convenience of buying things online so appealing.

But now it seems, that the smartest of retailers are turning the mobile phone into their bricks-and-mortar friend and embracing the benefits it has to offer using in-store apps.

While some are still struggling to embrace the omni-channel approach, those who have done it wisely are really reaping the benefits.

So why do in-store apps work so well?

The simple reason is, in-store apps create a more personalised experience for your customer and the more you know about them the more you can personalise that experience.

Starbucks for example, understood the time poor worker and made an app so you can order and pay online and beat all the queues – then all that is left to do is pop in and pick it up from the counter.

Beacons and geo-tagging are a great way to know when your customer is near or in-store and can be used to provide tantalising discounts or reasons to enter the store.

So perhaps you can imagine your customer walking towards their favourite product in-store and just as they are about to reach it, they get pinged with a special for 10% off!  YES PLEASE!

Customers most commonly use in-store apps to find coupons, redeem digital coupons in-store or even to locate sale items or in-store discounts. They also compare prices and view product ratings and reviews.

Store layouts are also a great opportunity to include on an app.

Similarly, using beacon locaters to know when someone is in store for a click n collect or a return is totally invaluable.  You could be getting things ready before they even reach the counter.

Making your loyalty program a part of the app is a no brainer.  Not only are they pinged sales items that you know interest them, they can then see if they qualify for further discounts or free items based on their loyalty points!

However, all this is just the tip of ice-berg for the opportunity for in-store apps and it is really limited to our imaginations.

Why not have a chat-bot built right into your app so that someone can scan the item they are trying on in a change-room and request a new size be brought to them instead of having to try and call for and track down a sales assistant?  Just one idea.

The thing is an in-store mobile app can create a really personal experience for your customer which in turn promotes loyalty.  So working out how to create a true ‘experience’ for your client is totally worth putting your thinking cap on for and one that your customers will actually venture OUT for.

Apps have the opportunity to totally disrupt the way business is done right now and continue to evolve our shopping experience.

If you want to continue to innovate your business, talk to us at The Playhouse Group.

Bonus material

Here are two fun ways that apps have been used to create a real ‘experience’ for shoppers.

Hointer

Hointer totally reinvented the shopping experience.  They have one item of each product on display effectively reducing the need for floor shop space and creating mini-warehouses out the back. You shop by scanning the barcode of the item you want to try via an app on your mobile or tablet.

Your items are then picked from the warehouse and delivered (via robot) to your dressing room within 30 seconds. With this kind of experience, people generally try on more items and buy more clothes. Plus it is a very easy experience. No trying to flag down an assistant whilst half-naked because you got the wrong size!  

Whatever you don’t want goes down the shoot and the rest stays in your shopping cart which you pay for with a swipe of your credit card.

Migros

The Swiss supermarket, Migros, used a Discover feature on their mobile app. Users can scan any of the 5,000+ products in the store to access product information, real-time ratings and reviews, recipes, and nutritional values.

This creates a range of cross-promotional opportunities that mean consumers leave with more items than they originally intended.